Holiday online sales surge to $21.6B

ComScore Networks ups its Web-spending forecast after latest data shows consumers boosted their buying activity in the final run-up to Christmas.

By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Online shopping got a big late-season surge as many more holiday procrastinators turned to the Internet to wrap up their gift buying, according to the latest report from market research firm ComScore Networks.

During the first 50 days of the season, total online retail spending, excluding travel-related purchases, reached $21.68 billion, up 26 percent from a year earlier, the firm said.

ComScore said the popular gift categories that shoppers were targeting online included jewelry and watches, videogame consoles, electronics, event tickets and toys.

On Dec. 11, consumers set a single-day record of $661 million for online spending. Two days later, that record was broken as consumers spent $667 million online.

As a result, the firm revised its online holiday sales forecast higher to $24.6 billion, or an increase of 25 percent over the same period last year. ComScore initially had expected holiday sales on the Internet to grow 24 percent to $24.3 billion.

"The strategy of luring holiday shopping procrastinators with extended shipping guarantees paid off handsomely for online retailers," Gian Fulgoni, chairman of ComScore, said in a statement.

"That we are seeing above-average growth rates this late in the holiday season is clear evidence that consumers have strong faith in the ability of online retailers to 'deliver the goods,'" he said.

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.